.. or class politics. “During the electoral realignment of the 1930s, the Democrats gained the overwhelming allegiance of most manual workers and their unions”, (Piven and Cloward 421). The alignment of the working class with the Democratic Party coalition developed two powerful strategies to combat the wealthy and business leaders. As stated previously, the workers held extreme striking power over the means of production in factories.
Now they had power in the organization of the working class population and could coordinate their votes to consolidate political force for their perspectives. The concept is similar to how the employees of a corporation have incentives to pursue company goals as a team. “The main political project of labor parties became the use of state power to develop the welfare state” (Piven and Cloward 21). Therefor, in the 1930s the democrats became a party of vigorous government intervention in the economy and thus the social realm. The goals of the party were to regulate, redistribute economic wealth and to protect people who are in need of assistance in an increasingly competitive society.
The depression of 1929 and the coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt into the presidency with the New Deal help syndicate and enlarge the commitment to governmental expansions of assistance programs and industry regulation. Due to the economic conditions of the era, the advocators of economic assistance proved to be attractive to society and The Democratic Party flourished. The result of these campaigns was increased workers rights and a seemingly practical welfare state. Workers Rights Massive unemployment during the Great Depression created a socially dysfunctional society. Without the ability to create income through employment, basic physiological necessities were not being met. “When large numbers of people are suddenly barred from their traditional occupations, the entire structure of social control is weakened and may even collapse” (Piven and Cloward 7).
During the depression, society experienced this symptom, which resulted in massive protests. The Democratic Party under the direction of Roosevelt recognized the need for government intervention. The party aligned itself with the working class and began to advocate workers rights legislation. Under Democratic Party control, federal funds were used to establish the Works Progress Administration, now known as the Work Project Administration, which distributed assistance to citizens in need of subsistence. In 1935, Roosevelt again used federal funds to create public works programs, which gave employment opportunities to the unemployed.
As a result of declining republican political power, these and other initiatives were introduced to help increase workers rights. These workers rights that the Democratic Party supported were the same rights that the Republican Party had worked so hard to repress from regulation. In addition to passing labor rights laws, legislative action was taken against the wealthy industrialists use of legal injunctions. These lawful injunctions were used as an intimidating scheme to suppress union membership and ultimately strikes. In 1932 the U.S.
congress enacted the Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act. This legislation severely limited the self-motivated employers use of injunctions as a standard operating procedure against strikes. Another tactic of wealthy employers to combat unions was the use of the open shop strategy. Abolishment of the open shop regime was usually one of the primary demands by labor unions in collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, known as the Wagner act, because of its sponsor Robert Wagner was adopted and help end the open shop crusades.
This act federally guaranteed workers the right to organize through trade unions, use of collective bargaining and firmly incorporated a set of employment standards. It also restricted employers from practicing pre-employment tactics such as the open shop strategy. This reduced the power that republican business representatives could exert over the prospective and employed worker. In addition, the federal mandated right of collective bargaining guaranteed workers negotiation hearings in which employers had to listen to the workers needs. Congress also established the Social Security Act, which is a form of social welfare. In 1938, the United States Congress implemented the Fair Labor Standards Act.
This primary functions of this act was to eliminate labor conditions that are dangerous to works health and productivity, it also established a minimum wage to eliminate the disastrous effects of high labor supplies, overtime wages were developed to eliminate excessive work weeks, and finally it eliminate oppressive child labor. The result of the Democratic Party effect on legislation during the labor movement is essential a bill of rights granted to the working class of America. No longer would the wealthy elite of America victimize the low wage working class in such inhumane techniques. Instead, these legislative acts marked the beginning of a new challenge to the Republican Party. Now the party had to reclaim lost legal ground by slowly returning to power of the United States Government.
Political Phenomena The legislative mandates of the Roosevelt era helped establish what is now known as the labor movement. Society was suffering adverse conditions and the Democratic Party mobilized the people into a political voice. The Republican Party was essentially powerless, regardless of their financial position because government officials were responding to public outcries. This historically proves that when conditions are unfair, a political party can mobilize society and gain control. Roosevelt also initiated measures that resulted in higher taxes on the rich and restricted private utility companies. Although these combinations did not stop the wealthy republicans from continuing to gain additional wealth, it only slowed their progress.
History when again prove that the Republican Party would come back into power and restrict the rights of workers. This occurred when a Republican majority Congress passed the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, known as the Taft-Hartley Act evidencing this reoccurring political phenomenon. This act retracted some of the rights that were implemented during the labor movement. These provisions included restricting supervisory employees protection from the NLRA and emphasized the right of employees not to join a labor union. These restrictions of labor rights were in the interest of the Republican Party and were created to reduce the power previous legislation granted labor unions.
The successful creation of this statute reinforces the evidence that wealthy Republicans continually attempt to swindle the blue-collar labor class. Their motives are based within selfish financial greed and capitalist economy theory. This congressional act illustrates the phenomenon that bipartisan control and power is cyclical. The Democrats did regained majority of congress and implemented numerous anti-business and social interest acts in the 1960s. Due to the political cycle, The Republican Party inevitable would gain control of congress once again, but the question was when? Globalization During the economic crisis of the seventies, particularly the great recession of 1973-1975 businesses began to understand their role in the worlds economy. America was importing more then it was exporting, which was creating an unfamiliar and enormous trade deficit.
“In 1971, for the first time since the 1890s, the U.S. imported more then it exported”, (Cohen and Rogers 36) Increased competition from foreign firms posed a substantial threat to American corporations. The result of this threat forced American corporations to compete with globalization. Corporations could no longer produce simple marketing campaigns to develop brand loyal consumers. Global competition forced these companies to produce the highest quality, lowest price and distribute through efficient channels.
The international competition however, operating in countries were labor is cheaper, taxes are lower, there is fewer industry regulations and an absence of unions. In addition to these competitive forces, managers of the corporations must also answer to the wealthy shareholders of the corporation. Many business leaders formed think tanks to devise strategies to compete with this new threat. “American business leaders set about developing a political program to shore up profits by slashing taxes and business regulation, lowering wages and welfare spending, and building up American military power abroad”, (Piven and Cloward 443). The sources of all of these objectives were rooted within government policies.
These policies would inevitable have to change for these goals to be achieved. So, the corporate elite implemented a political strategy that would slowly form over decades to achieve. Corporate Politicians Even in modern times the wealthy elitist of society still could influence political matters through the power massive financial resources. During the 1980s business elite continued to align themselves with the Republican Party for it conservative ideals. The methods the wealthy corporation shareholders influence legislation during modern times has extremely advanced. The development of political action committees has encouraged corporations to channel financial contributions into political campaigns.
Corporations will develop a PAC, establish a set of issues that it promotes politically. If a politician is campaigning for an election with corresponding views, then it is in the best interest of the PAC to contribute to the campaign. More importantly, corporations are to contribute to groups and individuals not directly affiliated with a candidate, such as the GOP. These groups or individuals can register, persuade voters, endorse a platform, advocate a candidate and oppose another. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment of the Constitution protected this type of spending as a form of free speech in its 1976 decision, Buckley vs. Valeo.
These donations are referred to as “soft money” because they are not directly related to a campaign. The absence of regulation on soft money donations results in the option for corporations to contribute millions of dollars to further their political interest. This advantage has a profound effect in the corporate political strategy. “[Corporations] can simply treat politics as a business expense, a budget item like advertising, research and development, or public relations” (Clawson, Neustadl, and Weller 109). Through the strategy of the use of campaign contributing “soft money”, corporations have vastly increased their influence on political issues. This new corporate political influence has succeeded in their campaign to minimize threats to profitability. These threats were reduced most noted during the Reagan years when the Republican Party dominated the government.
“The administration has made significant cuts in social spending, particularly in low income programs, and made plain its desire for deeper cuts; achieved a massive, and massively regressive, revision of the Federal tax system in 1981; dramatically scaled back the enforcement of regulations that posed any significant limits to business power”, (Cohen and Rogers 38). This success demonstrates the influential power that wealth has over the United States government. The government by definition should act in the best interest of the population and not the elite. Instead the influx of soft money continues to be unregulated and as proven by the Supreme Court decisions in 1976. This decision closely resembles how the courts protected the rights of employers in the labor disputes of the 1920s. Why the Poor? The reasons why the rich corporations target the government are because the government holds the supreme lawful power over the entire population. History has proven to these elitists that with well financed operations targeting campaigning officials over time favorable legislation will be passed.
The legislation usually reduces some sort of cost or regulation in that firms industry. This increases the profitability of the company, which is directly related to the owners wealth. These incremental increases in profits have lead to more investments to further heighten the value of the wealthy. This is apparent by the vast and increasing gap between the rich and the poor in America. The poor are relatively easy targets in comparison to the costs of soft money contributions.
In America, it is very difficult for the poor to change their financial status. So, once a person is poor they are generally poor for the rest of their lives. They will continue to spend their lives spending the little money on the products these corporations provide. In short, the corporations are developing an enlarging consumer base that is dependent upon their products. The middle class is slowly disappearing because of the loss of blue-collar jobs.
The loss of blue-collar jobs is a symptom of the increasing presence of globalization. Globalization has privileged companies to outsource their production needs to other countries with lower regulation and labor costs. This resembles much of the labor practices of companies in the 1920s were the labor rights were essentially ignored. Another easy solution to minimize the firms operating costs is by eliminating valuable jobs. These sometimes massive downsizing satisfied the wealthy stockholders because the firm had lower production costs and higher profitability.
“Investors often applaud the news of a layoff as a sign of corporate turn-around. The payroll is a large, ongoing liability to the balance sheet, and investors are titillated by anything that reduces it”, (Downs 14). History repeats itself as we see that wealthy investors and managers again behave in manners regardless of peoples needs. The forces unleashed by corporate executions and globalization have brought into the labor market thousands of unskilled job seekers with little or no income. A new underclass has of previously employed individuals has become a nationwide trend in our social and economic condition.
These people are forced to take jobs within the service sector and these jobs typical pay wages that are lower then those of manufacturing jobs. These trends have formed a synergetic effect on the growing wealth gap between the rich and the poor. Conclusion In todays modern economy companies do not have to worry about the United States government regulating the labor industries in other countries because of jurisdiction. The use of soft money in the United States government has proven that even at home corporations can freely advocate legislation that is favorable to their terms. This has had a profound effect on the income gap in American society.
The wealthy possess financial resources that provide enormous opportunities to create more wealth. This need for excessive wealth is deeply rooted into the personalities of these individuals. In America, society considers the pursuit of wealth has a fundamental right of capitalism. The ethical boundary was crossed by the use of financial resources to victimize portions of society for hopes of future gains in wealth. Since the industrial revolution, the production owning wealthy has continually endeavored systems to reduce labor costs at the expense of the worker.
. The labor movement was a result of government intervention in the 1930s. The resulting legislation of this intervention produced several benefits to the working class, in particular the ability to form a labor union. Regardless, the republican elitist developed strategies to undermine the strength of labor unions. Unfortunately, history has proven time and time again that the cost of labor is all too easy to reduce. Todays global economy requires the use of an educated workforce in technology related jobs. This has left unskilled workers to seek low wage employment in the service industry.
Closely resembling the falling labor costs that characterized the Great Depression. Once again government action is required to limit the power of the wealthy elite. The masses of societys working class must again be reunited and organized to act as political class if the power is to return to the people. Bibliography Cohen, Joshua, Joel Rogers. Rules of the Game: American Politics and the Central America Movement.
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